As part of the separation process, the couple will often come to an agreement about what the child access schedule is, including the specific schedule in which the non-custodial parent has overnights with the children. The schedule is often placed in parenting plan which is part of a formal court order.
The parenting plan and the visitation schedule is important to all parties involved. The non-custodial parent needs that quality time with his children. The children need to have a healthy, loving relationship with both parents, including the non-custodial parent. And the party with primary custody often finds the task of being a single parent a grueling one, and needs some time to recharge the batteries.
However, most unfortunately, there are times when the non-custodial parent does not see his children when scheduled. The children may be anticipating a weekend with the parent who with little and sometimes no notice fails to spend those nights with the children. The custodial parent may have made other plans or arrangements. The children are disappointed. What can be done in that situation?
Unfortunately, there is no way to make a parent “want” to see his children. Clearly, it is best for all parties if both parents wish to be with their children and spend quality time with them. The best solution is either through productive and responsible conversations the non-custodial parent can be encouraged to spend the agreed nights with his children. If successful, that provides the best solution.
However, if the non-custodial parent is still unwilling to see the children when ordered to do so, the burden falls on the custodial parent to continue to provide as much as needed a loving home for the children. Under no circumstances should the non-custodial parent be criticized to the children as that is still their parent. If the situation continues, the custodial parent can request a modification of the court order, seeking to reduce the number of nights of visitation, because the non-custodial parent has not maintained the schedule and is apparently not interested in doing so. While it is a court order which may be in theory punishable by the contempt powers of the court, seeking to hold a parent in contempt for not wanting to see his children is not a productive or positive resolution.
We believe strongly that it is in the best interest of the children for parents to place the children’s interests first and to support the other parent in the role as mom and dad. We are happy to discuss with you any issues relating to visitation to assist in fashioning the best possible solution for you and your children. Call our Hunt Valley divorce attorneys at (443) 589-0150 or contact us online to schedule an appointment. We serve clients throughout Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County, including the areas of Baltimore, Towson, Essex, Westminster, Columbia and Bel Air.